New Book Shatters the Myths of the ‘MONA LISA’
Claims that a newly discovered canvas is the original version; the Louvre portrait is an allegory of the Madonna.
A Mona Lisa canvas recently discovered in a Swiss vault is the true likeness of a Florentine merchant’s wife, whereas the Mona Lisa in the Louvre is actually an allegorical representation of Mary, known as the Madonna Annunziata.
These are two of several new revelations about the world’s most famous portrait, presented in the book The Mona Lisa Myth by National Geographic bestselling author Jean-Pierre Isbouts and his co-author, art connoisseur Christopher Brown. Isbouts, a resident of Santa Monica, CA is a doctoral professor at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, and the author of several National Geographic bestsellers, including The Biblical World (2007) and In the Footsteps of Jesus (2012).
On Saturday December 7, 2013, during a special press event in Beverly Hills, these and other revelations will be presented in detail as described in the new book "The Mona Lisa Myth." A motion picture based on the book is currently in production at Pantheon Studios of Santa Monica.
THE BOOK: themonalisamyth.com
THE FILM: www.pantheonTV.com
THE AUTHOR: http://www.jpisbouts.org/#!bio/c1ktj
Using a combination of digital imaging, source criticism and archival sleuthing, the book shatters many of the “myths” about Leonardo da Vinci’s signature portraits. One of these is the actual identity of the woman in the portrait. “Over the past three decades, historians have suggested a host of other Renaissance ladies,” says Brown, an art connoisseur and Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon with a key expertise in interpreting faces; “but new evidence has put all these theories to rest. The Mona Lisa (The Earlier Version) is a silk merchant’s wife, Lisa del Giocondo—period.”
The book also reveals that Leonardo was coerced to paint the Mona Lisa (The Earlier Version) portrait in order to secure the support of Lisa’s husband, Francesco, in the maestro’s bid to win a large contract from the city of Florence. This Mona Lisa portrait, the authors argue, is now in Switzerland, having recently emerged from obscurity in a Swiss vault. But the most astonishing claim in the book is that the second version of the portrait, now in the Louvre Museum in Paris, is actually an allegory on the mystery of motherhood, propelled by Leonardo’s lifelong fascination with the Madonna motif.
“Starting with his anatomical studies of female cadavers in Florence in 1507,” Isbouts says, “Leonardo became obsessed with discovering the ultimate mystery of medieval times, long forbidden by the Church: how a woman conceives and nurtures life in her womb.” This question would preoccupy Leonardo for the remainder of his life, Isbouts claims, and inspire his last great works: de St. Anne, the Leda and the Swan, and a second version of the Mona Lisa (Louvre version) . “All explore both the psychology and physicality of motherhood,” he adds, “fully informed by the allegorical power of the medieval Madonna.”
Among others, the authors point to the discovery of a thin gauzy veil over the lady’s head and shoulders in detailed X-rays produced by the Louvre museum. “In medieval Italy, thisguarnello was usually worn by pregnant women and thus became a key attribute of the Virgin Mary,” Brown says.
The book has been optioned by Pantheon Studios of Santa Monica and is currently being filmed on location in and around Florence, Italy. The screenplay for the film is written by Isbouts, who has directed a number of documentaries including Charlton Heston’s Voyage Through the Bible with Charlton Heston; Van Gogh Revisited starring Leonard Nimoy; andWalt: the Man Behind the Myth, narrated by Dick van Dyke.
“The Mona Lisa Myth” motion picture is slated for release in March, 2014.
The Mona Lisa Myth is published by Brown & Pantheon. In addition to print, the book is also available in Kindle and iPad versions from Amazon and Apple. Worldwide rights are represented by Global Lion Intellectual Property Management.
Press release provided by:
ALLISON ZUCKER-PERELMAN, Allison@relevantcommunications.net (561) 715-9525